The Magic Bow

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The Magic Bow
The Magic Bow (1946 film).jpg
Italian theatrical poster
Directed by Bernard Knowles
Produced by R.J. Minney
Written by Roland Pertwee
Harry Ostrer (Scenario Editor)
Norman Ginsbury (additional dialogue)
Based on novel The Magic Bow: a Romance of Paganini by Manuel Komroff[1]
Starring Stewart Granger
Phyllis Calvert
Music by Henry Geehl
Cinematography Jack Asher
Jack E. Cox
Edited by Alfred Roome
Distributed by General Film Distributors (UK)
Release date
  • 25 November 1946 (1946-11-25)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office 5,067 admissions (France)[2]

The Magic Bow is a 1946 British musical film based on the life and loves of the Italian violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini.[3] It was directed by Bernard Knowles. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.[4]



Filming had to be postponed due to an illness to Phyllis Calvert, so Caravan, also starring Granger, was rushed into production and made first.[5]

Phyllis Calvert's character was fictitious, a composite of various women who had helped Paganini. The character of Bianca, the Italian singer, was real. Margaret Lockwood was originally announced to play the role, but was replaced by Jean Kent. Kent later recalled "I had marvellous costumes in that bit not a very good part. You expect she [Bianca] is going to do something and she never does. It's a film that went wrong. Originally I believe they wanted Margaret Lockwood to play it. Presumably then it would have been a much better part, I don't know what happened. Bernard Knowles was a very good cameraman but not a director."[6]

Producer R. J. Minner said that:

We are doing it [the film] as delicately as possible, as a study of sacred and profane love. Paganini's relationship with Bianca is rather a tricky business to get past the Hays Office, but we hope, with tact, to manage it. He knew Bianci all his life. He couldn't do it without her. She sang at all his concerts. He kept quarrelling with her and coming back to her. She made him ill and nearly killed him, and in the end he left her.[7]

The script was made with a great deal of input from Yehudi Menuhin, who performed the violin solos heard in the film.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

In their review, The New York Times concluded, "...the behind-the-scenes playing of Yehudi Menuhin as the violinist, drawing his magic bow over the compositions of Paganini, Tartini and Beethoven, is in itself almost worth the price of admission. Stewart Granger, playing Paganini, offers creditable make-believe as a violinist and does his best to play the man in a forthright manner. Considering the script, that is something of an accomplishment. Phyllis Calvert, as the other half of the romance, does well under the same handicaps, while Jean Kent and Dennis Price, aso facing script difficulties, do the best they can as a couple of jilted lovers. What few pleasant moments occur in the film — outside of the splendid musical sequences — fall to Cecil Parker as Paganini's manager. He presided over the two or three occasions when the audience laughed."[8]


  1. ^ Goble, Alan (1 January 1999). "The Complete Index to Literary Sources in Film". Walter de Gruyter – via Google Books. 
  2. ^ Box office information for Stewart Granger films in France at Box Office Story
  3. ^ "The Magic Bow (1946)". 
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Magic Bow". Retrieved 4 January 2009. 
  5. ^ BUSY BRITONS: Two Down and One to Go By C.A. LEJEUNE. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 24 June 1945: 27.
  6. ^ Brian MacFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Methuen 1997 p 340
  7. ^ a b THE FILM SCENE IN LONDON: Strictly a Family Affair By C.A. LEJEUNE. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 16 Sep 1945: X3.
  8. ^

External links[edit]